Women for Peace honored at Annual American Friends of Blérancourt Dinner

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The dinner scene at the American Friends of Blérancourt & Compiègne Gala.

Anne Tracy Morgan, the youngest of the three daughters of J. P. Morgan, was born in the last quarter of the 19th century. Morgan was educated privately, traveled frequently and grew up amongst the wealth her father had amassed. And like her father, she made a prominent place for herself in the world.

Anne Morgan and Anne Murray Dike, ca. 1915.

In 1903, she became part owner of the Villa Trianon near Versailles with decorator Elsie De Wolfe and theatrical/literary agent Elisabeth Marbury. She was instrumental in assisting De Wolfe, her close friend, in pioneering a career in interior decoration. The three women, known as “The Versailles Triumvirate” helped organize the Colony Club the first women’s social club in New York City and, later, they helped found the exclusive neighborhood of Sutton Place along Manhattan’s East River.

From 1917 to 1921, she took up residence 75 miles north of Paris at Chateau de Blerancourt, entrusted to her by the French Army, along with 350 American women — all volunteers — to help the war-ravaged civilian population in Picardy in northeastern France. The American Friends of France (AFF) employed several hundred people at a time, with volunteers from abroad and locally recruited staff.

This she financed partly out of her own deep pockets, and partly with the help of an active network in the States. The AFF was active in aiding noncombatants, organizing a health service that still exists in Soissons, as well as a workshop to provide basic furniture to bombed-out families, a holiday camp for children, and a mobile library that was eventually taken over by the library in Soissons, and so on. She returned in 1939 to help the Soissons evacuees.

Anne Morgan with first American volunteers in front of the barracks of the Château de Blérancourt.

Anne Morgan came to mind because the American Friends of the Franco-American Museum, Chateau de Blérancourt, recently held their annual gala recognizing two American leaders with the Anne Morgan Women of Courage Award — Ambassador Melanne Verveer and General Rose Keravuori — both of whom personify the quest for peace and resolution.

Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton sent a letter to the American Friends of Blérancourt congratulating her friend on receiving the award. Former award recipient, Judith Pisar, read the letter to guests: “Melanne has been by my side for over three decades now, masterminding countless projects that have changed and saved lives at home and across the globe,” Clinton wrote.

Echoing Secretary Clinton’s words, Melanne Verveer, now the Executive director of Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security, paid tribute to the women fighting for peace, whether in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Iran, or the Middle East. “If Anne Morgan were alive today, I am confident that she too would be working on the front lines, joining countless other women for peace, progress, and a better tomorrow. Let’s be inspired by Anne Morgan’s legacy, and let’s be inspired by today’s women peacemakers all over the world.”

Franck Laverdin, Ambasador Melanne Verveer, Brigadier General Rose Keravuori, and Dorothea de La Houssaye.

“This is a time of chaos,” the President of American Friends of Blérancourt Dorothea de la Houssaye said. “As the Franco-American Museum of Blérancourt will celebrate its centennial in 2024, we need to emphasize the role of women leaders not only to strengthen the Franco-American friendship but also build peace worldwide.”

“Both Ambassador Verveer and General Keravuori tread in the footsteps of Anne Morgan, one of America’s first woman philanthropists whose contribution to helping French people and rebuilding France after the First World War still resonates to this day,” Chairman of American Friends of Blérancourt Franck Laverdin added.

Dorothea de La Houssaye and Franck Laverdin.
Dorothea de La Houssaye, Jeremie Robert, and Franck Laverdin.

Roya Rahmani and Ambasador Melanne Verveer.

Brigadier General Rose Keravuori with her Château de Blérancourt Award.

Earlier in the evening, General Rose Keravuori, director of Intelligence for the United States Africa Command, was awarded the Château de Blérancourt Award. Both her private and professional life have been intertwined with France.

“Looking back at my military career, I am proud of serving at every rank alongside French forces. I am happy that my parents set the foundation of service and love of France in me, but I am not the only one. You can be confident of the future,” General Keravuori said. “I have met many more women and men, both in the U.S. and France, who are also dedicated to service in the 3Ds of Defense, Diplomacy, and Development, many dedicating their lives to improving the lives of others.”

Among the dinner committee were Renée Anderson, Franck Laverdin, Countess Dorothea de la Houssaye, Laetitia Garriott de Cayeux, Miles Morgan, Sonja Tremont Morgan, and Baron Alexander von Perfall. French Consul General in New York Jérémie Robert, and his wife Shinuna Karume, former Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States Roya Rahmani, Princess Caroline de Murat, Prince Dimitri de Yougoslavie, Prince Dushan de Yougoslavie, Princesse Valérie de Yougoslavie, Nefissa and Christophe Attard, Diane Brady, Contessa Brewer, Carole and Philippe Delouvrier, Susan Gutfreund, Nannette Lafond Dufour, Abelardo Marcondès and Estaban Abascal, artist Roxane Revon, Noriko and Karl Rozak, Olga Rozé, Sana Sabbagh, Sabrina Wirth, and Yolanda Santos also attended the evening.

L. to r.: Elaine Leary and Cindy Barrois; Brigadier General Rose Keravuori and Laetitia Garriott De Cayeux.
Joseph Bartning, Janeen Bartning, Heidi Roberts, and Allen Roberts.
Margaret Huntoon, Roya Rahmani, Maurice Renaud, and Cathy Cyphers Soref.
Renee and Sumner Anderson.
Valérie de Yougoslavie, Dushan de Yougoslavie, Maribel Lieberman, and Dimitri de Yougoslavie.
L. to r.: Anne Therese Gennari and Arthur Gennari; Charlotte Morgan and Miles Morgan.
James Hamilton, Alexandre Mirlesse, Emily Hamilton, Emmanuelle Aloy, Shinuna Karume Robert, and Jeremie Robert.
L. to r.: Antoine Turzi and Princess Caroline Murat; Kaily O’Connor and Marie Noura.
Esteban Abascal, Rosario Arnaud, and Abelardo Marcondes.
Ron Wahid, Magdalena Wahid, Matthew Zubrow, and Lindsay Davis.
L. to r.: General Vincent de Kytspotter and Helene Chazal de Kytspotter; Roya Rahmani and Zolaykha Sherzad.
Selina Hayes, Princess Caroline Murat, Brigadier General Rose Keravuori, and Antoine Turzi.
L. to r.: Rosario Arnaud and Sabrina Wirth; Marianne Verbuyt and Olga Roze.
Renee Anderson, Robert Candler, Sumner Anderson, Anne Faircloth, and Frederick Beaujeu-Dufour.
L. to r.: Nefissa Attard and Christophe Attard; Maribel Lieberman and Jeanne Hoefliger.
Esteban Abascal, Oscar Caballero, Marco Maranghello, Sonja Morgan, Rula Lufti, and Abelardo Marcondes.
L. to r.: Contessa Brewer, Carole Delouvrier, and Philippe Delouvrier; Marianne Verbuyt and Nannette Lafond Dufour.
Arthur Gennari and William Wellman.
L. to r.: Sophie Raubiet and Wen Li; Ambasador Melanne Verveer and Judith Pisar.
Benny Tabatabai, Sana Sabbagh, Susan Gutfreund, Karl Rozak, and Noriko Rozak.
L. to r.: Janeen and Joseph Bartning; Matthew Zubrow and Lindsay Davis.
Elaine Leary, Dorothea de La Houssaye, Miles Morgan, and Jean Astrop.
L. to r.: Philip Verveer and Carole Delouvrier; Franck Laverdin and Sana Sabbagh.
Nicolas von Pervall, Ysaure Marty de Cambiaire, Isabelle Von Perfal, and Gabriel Beatrix.
L. to r.: Benny Tabatabai and Yolanda Santos; Victoria Wyman and Alfred Lasher.
Shinuna Karume Robert, Jeremie Robert, and Emmanuelle Aloy.
L. to r.: Anne Faircloth and Frederick Beaujeu-Dufour; Carole Delouvrier, Ambasador Melanne Verveer, and Roya Rahmani.
Major Justin Lenio and Margaret Huntoon.
Eduardo de la Vega.

Photos by David DuPuy/Annie Watt.com and Annie Watt

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